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Best "hip" DC Restaraunts?

a
arose Jul 28, 2008 07:43 AM

So I have a friend coming into town - the type that likes good food, but also likes the "it" places, the ones with a scene. We are both in our mid-twenties, so places with good drinks, fun atmosphere and good food (and not terribly terribly expensive $25 an entree is fine). Zatinya is the first place that comes to mind, but I was wondering what you all think?

  1. k
    keithdcil Aug 27, 2008 12:58 PM

    Zengo, Proof , Cocosala.

    1. a
      arugulafilesdc Aug 17, 2008 09:21 AM

      Since you mentioned that you are in your mid-twenties, you should check out the U Street area, which has a mix of clubs, bars, and restaurants. A lot of the recommendations on the board--Proof, Central, Cafe Atlantico, Brasserie Beck, etc.--attract a crowd just a bit older (late twenties early thirties) and tend to be a little more expensive. Zatinya, Oyamel, and Zengo tend to be younger. I agree that they are all good, though. Just not sure if they fit what you are looking for.

      The U Street area tends to be a little younger:

      Cafe St. Ex
      Bar Pilar
      Marvin
      Cork
      Coppis Organic

      Are all tasty.

      1. h
        Hal Laurent Aug 16, 2008 05:21 PM

        So what does "hip" mean when it comes to a restaurant? That people will go to it because it's trendy regardless of whether it's actually good?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Hal Laurent
          w
          WestIndianArchie Aug 17, 2008 11:56 AM

          Hip Restaurants
          - attract young, attractive, professionals
          - have a happening bar scene (so above young professionals can hook up)
          - food can bad, decent, good, great - but good food is not necessary element for hip ness. Longevity yes, hipness no
          - close to other happening bars
          - close to where the working professionals live or work.

          As DC develops, there will be more Oya's and Zaytinya's.

        2. b
          Bood Aug 1, 2008 09:59 AM

          Poste is another good one. You can have drinks outside and then go inside for dinner. Souce is a good one. I love Brasserie Beck and always take friends for the mussels and good beer. It's never let me down.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bood
            c
            chicken kabob Aug 16, 2008 03:42 PM

            Hope I am not too late responding to this post, but...I think Matchbox (although casual, is slightly "hip") and other suggestions for hip, good restaurants, in my opinion, include Zengo in Chinatown and Central. I have not been to Indeblue in Chinatown and do not know how good the food is, but I hear it definately has the hip factor.

          2. d
            DCDOLL Jul 29, 2008 01:39 PM

            We went to Enology last friday adn the scene was kinda hopping by the time we rolled out of there at 6:30 or so. It's on Wisconsin in clevepark, right across from 2 Amy's. Enology has some food -- not huge selections but what we saw looked good; flatbread pizzas and stuff. And gourmet chocolates to wash down the rest of that cab you order...

            Proof is also hip and good and could fit in your range. Brasserie Beck also comes to mind. Dupont has a couple new places but i can't think of the names nor have i been to them.

            3 Replies
            1. re: DCDOLL
              s
              startsev Jul 31, 2008 09:05 PM

              Hook's chef is gone but we were there very recently and everything was delicious and well-prepared. doesn't seem to have suffered at all.

              1. re: startsev
                e
                Elyssa Aug 1, 2008 06:30 AM

                Ya I'm not really in the camp that is avoiding Hook because Barton Seaver left. Except for missing out on the eye candy (he is a hottie!) I don't know how much the cooking will slip. When I ate there, Seaver wasn't even in the kitchen and we had an incredible meal. I can't remember the name of the chef that cooked for us but if its the same guy that is in charge of the kitchen now I still think its a restaurant to check out.

                1. re: Elyssa
                  monkeyrotica Aug 26, 2008 12:06 PM

                  I'd say Hook is definitely slipping, at least in the service department if not in the seafood itself.

                  http://dcist.com/2008/08/26/restauran...

            2. i
              irishgirl1007 Jul 29, 2008 03:53 AM

              I have been to Obelisk only once a few years ago, but it still ranks as the best restaurant to me in Washington. It's small, best food and you'd be in Georgetown to hop a bar or two. I've done the K Street restaurants, excellent, but more for lawyers after work. Have a great night and let us know where you went.

              4 Replies
              1. re: irishgirl1007
                crackers Jul 29, 2008 04:02 AM

                Obelisk is on P St. in Dupont Circle, not Georgetown. Definitely not an "it" place. Hook is losing its chef (if he hasn't already left.)

                Highest hipness factor would probably be Central, Proof, and Cork Wine Bar, although the prices may creep out of your range.

                1. re: crackers
                  d
                  daves_32 Jul 29, 2008 04:13 AM

                  Cork is certainly hip right now. That wouldn't be out of the price range. Perhaps eating at Proof would be in the price range but the final tab is often scary because of the higher end wines by the glass.

                  1. re: crackers
                    a
                    arose Jul 29, 2008 10:28 AM

                    Cork is a good suggestion - I still haven't been - but I hear it's crazy crowded on weekends. have you found that to be the case?

                    1. re: arose
                      d
                      daves_32 Jul 29, 2008 11:00 AM

                      it can become quite crowded. if you go early enough (i think before 6), you can book a table.

                2. e
                  Elyssa Jul 28, 2008 09:33 AM

                  These are all good suggestions. I would say the top of my list would be: Proof, Central, Hook, Oya, Brasserie Beck and Cafe Atlantico. All places have good food, good drinks (be it mojitos, wine, or beer depending on the place), and a fun, hip atmosphere.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Elyssa
                    g
                    GyroBall Jul 28, 2008 04:30 PM

                    I'll throw out Cafe St. Ex and Coppi's. Both certainly in a more "hip" area than...ugh...the tourist-infested, bridge-'n'-tunnel Penn Quarter.

                    If the Penn Quarter, then Proof for sure. Definitely a cool scene, though the bar area can get really, really crowded.

                    1. re: GyroBall
                      e
                      Elyssa Jul 28, 2008 04:52 PM

                      Good call on U St. restaurants. I would also add in Marvin's.

                      1. re: Elyssa
                        d
                        dominationinc Jul 28, 2008 04:58 PM

                        Oya, TenPenh

                        1. re: dominationinc
                          s
                          startsev Jul 28, 2008 05:52 PM

                          I agree with Hook- because of the Georgetown factor. Central is a very happening place also with great food.

                  2. ktmoomau Jul 28, 2008 08:01 AM

                    Second Rasika and Zaytinya and Proof. I like the mixed drinks at Rasika a lot.

                    Add Hook.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: ktmoomau
                      d
                      daves_32 Jul 28, 2008 08:22 AM

                      How about Zola.
                      Good simple American food and lots of fun cocktails.
                      scene to be sure

                      1. re: daves_32
                        a
                        arose Jul 28, 2008 08:33 AM

                        I do like Zola, the food is great and it has a fun atmosphere - but when I have been there it's been a little quiet. have you had the same experience?

                        1. re: arose
                          littlew1ng Jul 28, 2008 08:39 AM

                          it can get pretty bustling on weekends, plus it's in chinatown — never really quiet. Matchbox is quite hip, very sceney and very loud, since it seems you are trying to avoid the quieter restaurants.

                          1. re: littlew1ng
                            d
                            daves_32 Jul 28, 2008 08:58 AM

                            well, zola is quiet but it is hip. It seems that there are a lot of complaints on this board about restaurants being too loud. Well, one of my favorite places in the area is Brasserie Beck. That is a scene if you like good beers served right. It does get a bit loud. The entrees will just slide below the price level.

                            1. re: littlew1ng
                              e
                              elegantelliot Jul 28, 2008 10:56 AM

                              matchbox is definitely crowded, but i wouldnt ever call it "hip"

                      2. g
                        gyozagirl Jul 28, 2008 07:49 AM

                        Just in terms of the Penn Quarter area:

                        Zaytinya, Oya, Rosa Mexicano (assuming they haven't been to another outpost), or Proof (if they like wine) would be a few off the top of my head. I've been to all of those places with both groups of girl friends and with just one other person, and all were v. lively and fun.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: gyozagirl
                          d
                          daves_32 Jul 28, 2008 07:55 AM

                          It seems that the scene stealer of late has been Good Stuff Eatery. That would be if you like hamburgers.

                        2. j
                          jaydreb Jul 28, 2008 07:45 AM

                          Proof, Rasika, Zatinya come to mind.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: jaydreb
                            j
                            Jacey Jul 28, 2008 09:48 AM

                            I think Zatinya, Rosa Mexicano, Oya or Oyamel would be good choices. While Rasika is good, I don't always think of it as "hip." Proof is classy but that place can get expensive.

                            If your friend is really into a scene feeling, Oya might be the best option. They have some reasonable prices depending on the time you go.

                            1. re: Jacey
                              e
                              Elyssa Jul 28, 2008 10:31 AM

                              Oya also usually has a $30 pre-fixe menu which is quite good...I believe its 3-courses.

                              1. re: Jacey
                                ktmoomau Jul 28, 2008 02:04 PM

                                I think the food at Rosa Mexicana except for the guac isn't very good, Oyamel is much better, if you want that. Neither I think are especially trendy, Oya has a good bar scene, but the restaurant never tends to be that busy when I am there and that has been like Friday nights. But it is a good deal. And the bar certainly is popular, especially because it is club reminiscent and DC just doesn't have a good club scene.

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